When victims are finally able to escape their traffickers, it’s important to remember that their stories are just beginning. Natalie* is one such young woman.
Natalie was being kept in a hotel against her will and forced into prostitution. Her captor had threatened with her violence and death if she attempted to leave him, and she was truly terrified. Natalie felt trapped — she was imprisoned by her fear and was cut off from any help.
Natalie finally reached a place where she knew she had no choice but to call the Polaris-operated National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline.** It took tremendous courage to make the call that would eventually change her life. The call specialist who answered her call remembers how much her voice was shaking. Our call specialist kept Natalie on the line while we arranged her safe rescue. When local officers arrived to escort Natalie from the hotel to a shelter, the call specialist could hear the profound relief in her voice.
Today, Natalie is recovering from her trauma. But most importantly, Natalie’s story is just beginning. While Natalie no longer directly endures the terrible conditions of her trafficking situation, she is recovering from her trauma, and her potential to live the life she chooses is now possible. It is up to all of us to continue the fight against slavery and exploitation, including the work to assist survivors in reconstructing the lives they wish for.
Polaris tells the stories of survivors with the hope that it will help people who are in need of immediate assistance find the courage to seek it out, and to inspire you to get involved. Learn more information about the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, at www.traffickingresourcecenter.org. Or support our work so we can answer more calls like Natalie’s at www.polarisproject.org/give.
*Names, identifying information, and case details have been changed or omitted to protect the confidentiality of the individuals we serve.
**The NHTRC is now the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.